Acopia brings network intelligence to storage

Looking to let customers more easily manage their storage consumption, add or delete storage and manage storage utilization, start-up Acopia last week released its first offerings.

The company's Adaptive Resource Networking 6000 and ARX 1000 switches link to a local Ethernet switch and tie together corporate network-attached storage (NAS) appliances and file servers under a unified umbrella. The software that ships with the ARX 6000 and ARX 1000 creates one global namespace for all the attached devices, so storage resources can be pooled, managed from one location and reconfigured as needed.

"[Before the ARX] each application was a silo situation - the other guys didn't know when there is extra capacity on the network," says the executive director of technology for a large media company in the Northeast who requested anonymity. "With global name space and a tiered storage model you can improve the efficiency of the storage you already have."

The ARX 6000 and ARX 1000 manage Unix/Linux Network File System and Microsoft Common Information File System data. The switches will manage the unstructured data - files, spreadsheets and PDFs - residing on NAS and direct-attached storage. According to Enterprise Storage Group, unstructured data accounts for 80% of a company's data. As networks grow and the amount of storage capacity increases, this data becomes distributed throughout the network, where it is difficult to manage.

Warner Music in Burbank, Calif., has 20T bytes of data on file servers distributed across its network, which consists of millions of files ranging from .wav and MP3 to artwork for CDs. It uses the Acopia switch to consolidate these file servers.

"As we continue to double our storage infrastructure every year, the capital expense of the infrastructure and the operational costs to manage it are more important to control and manage," says Mike Streb, vice president of IT services for Warner Music. "Acopia's product lets us quickly gain a higher utilization of [storage] and eliminate the growing burden of manually managing data migration."

Acopia was founded in January 2002 by Cheng Wu, founder of both ArrowPoint and Arris. Cisco acquired ArrowPoint in 2000 for $5.7 billion; Cascade acquired Arris in 1996 for $145 million. The company is funded for $40 million from Star Ventures, St. Paul Venture Capital, Charles River Ventures, Accel Partners and Cheng Wu.

The ARX 6000 is a chassis-mounted box that stands 13U high. It has 24 100/1000M bit/sec Ethernet ports and can process as many as 60 million files per hour. The ARX 6000 has a total throughput of 10G bit/sec. It costs about $150,000.

The smaller ARX 1000 is available in a 2U-high configuration. It has six Ethernet connections and can process 10 million files per hour. The ARX 1000 costs $45,000.

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